Freedom of information regarding decision-making a prerequisite for a state governed by the rule of law
human rights
City (headquarters):
Voivodeship (headquarters):
04-01-2021 - 31-10-2022
Project cost:
75 000,00 EUR
75 000,00 EUR
Types of activities:
use the effects of monitoring to conduct advocacy or intervention activities, networking
Target groups:
decision makers, legal practitioners, society

The project responds to the problem of limited access to public information in Poland. Since 2011, the jurisprudence of administrative courts has been increasingly discretionary in cases of access to public information. Judges and some ministries, referring to the category of ‘internal documents’, refuse access to documents that constitute public information in the light of Article 61 of the Constitution. However, the category of ‘internal document’ does not exist in the laws or the Constitution – it is the result of the discretionary approach of the administration and the courts. An additional threat to openness was posed by a request submitted to the Constitutional Court in 2021 by the First President of the Supreme Court. The application sought to declare unconstitutional a number of provisions of the Freedom of Information Act and raised questions about the extent to which the public can monitor the management of money and decision-making by those in public office.
As part of the project, the promoter undertook various activities to amend the Freedom of Information Act, focusing on public mobilisation, building expert coalitions of community organisations, lobbying national politicians and international advocacy. Several community organisations formed an informal coalition to develop the concept of meeting with policy makers. Studies, translations and expert reports were produced on the openness of the legislative process and the possibility of engaging with the judiciary. Advocacy activities were carried out in international institutions (EU and UN) and a conference was organised with politicians (21 people) on openness in decision-making. A public campaign entitled ‘Don’t underestimate the right to openness #ZaJawka’ was also carried out to raise awareness of the consequences of a lack of openness in the legislative process.
The project raised the profile of the openness debate and demonstrated its close links to the rule of law. The issue was successfully raised to an international level, which may lead to future pressure on the Polish government to respect the right to openness in public life and legislation. Due to the crisis of the rule of law and the unfavourable political and social situation in Poland, it was not possible to bring about systemic change, but the project is an important step in this direction.

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